3 Fast Break Plays to Improve Your Transition Offense

Current Texas head women’s basketball coach and former Duke coach Gail Goestenkors is a big proponent of the fast break offense. She prefers her teams to score via the fast break as much as possible and believes that an effective transition game can directly translate to success on the court.

This week, learn three versatile fast break plays that Goestenkors has implemented successfully with her teams over the years. Watch as the Texas coach explains each play and assists with player movements before they are fully simulated by a team on the basketball court.

Fast Break Overview: Carolina Break

In the first play, there’s a point guard at the top of the key with the ball. There’s a guard in the right corner, a low post player on the same side low block, a farside wing player at the free throw line extended, and another forward up top. Take note of this set-up. The spacing is similar in each of these three plays. In this case, this offense is up against a zone defense.

First, the ball is passed to the corner wing player. If the wing has an open lane to the basket, they should drive to the hoop. If he can’t, he should go to the baseline because we want the post defense to be low side. If the post defense is high side, look to work the ball to the inside.

From here, you can get into the “Carolina Break.” Once you get the defense low side, don’t just look to pass it back up through the point guard. Instead, look to skip to the high post because you have a seal and potential easy layup for the post player. Remember, “SKIP, SEAL, IN.” Keep the opposite side clear. The low-post player should remain on the strong side until the ball is reversed. If the defender denies the outside wing player, go backdoor.


Once the ball is reversed to the opposite wing player, the low post player will now cut to the strong-side post. Next, the corner player sets a back screen for the high-post player, who cuts off the screen and has the option for a lob pass down low. If he’s not open, there’s a pass to the new high-post player (i.e. the former corner player). If that player doesn’t get a lob pass, there’s a seal and he will look to get a low pass in for a right-handed layup.

Key: These fast break plays allow you to transition into any offensive set.


Meanwhile, you can run two different breaks depending on who the trail post is. Goestenkors likes to run this break quite often for her three-point shooters. When they trail in, the defense must respect them. They will also come up to defend her. When the ball is reversed, there’s a great angle available for a back screen.


Notice when the ball is reversed to the wing player. Now instead of the back screen, we are setting a down screen with the high-post player. The corner player pops up top off this screen, receives the ball, and the two post players open up. The player with the ball up top looks immediately inside to his two options.

Depending on personnel, the point guard should know whether to call Basic or Down (usually depends on who the trail post is).



If we have a shooter that’s really hot, we go into “Double.” It’s just like Down, but there’s a double screen. On the reverse, the PG and high-post player set a double screen (staggered) for the corner player, who receives the ball up top. The two low players now open up and look for the inside feeds. The corner player can also shoot the three-pointer up top if he’s open from the double screen.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Gail Goestenkors: Transition Offense & Quick Hitters.” To check out more transition offense-related videos, visit our basketball library.

Leave a Reply


This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.